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BY Francis Akhalbey, 9:01am June 19, 2024,

Texas man who threatened Rep. Maxine Waters’ life sentenced

Brian Michael Gaherty admitted to threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters -- Photo Credit: Maxine Waters

A Texas man, who was arrested and charged after he threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters in phone calls that he made to her district office, was on Monday handed a 33-month prison sentence after he admitted to the offense.

Per NBC News, 61-year-old Brian Michael Gaherty was convicted after he pleaded guilty to a count of threatening a United States official, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Gaherty is said to have entered the guilty plea in January.

Besides the prison sentence, Gaherty was also fined $10,000. Authorities said United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner also added a hate-crime enhancement to Gaherty’s sentence after determining that the 61-year-old targeted Waters because of her race.

Gaherty, who was arrested and charged in April last year, is said to have threatened to assault and kill Waters on four different occasions between August 2022 and September 2022. Authorities said the convicted man admitted to the allegations in his plea agreement.

“Gaherty made these threats with the intent to impede, intimidate, and interfere with Waters while she was engaged in the performance of her official duties,” the statement said.

Authorities said that Gaherty sent four voicemails to Waters’ district office in Los Angeles County. The voicemails in question “contained a violent threat, profanity, and racist and misogynistic language,” authorities said.

“In August 2022, Gaherty threatened to ‘put a cap’ between the congresswoman’s eyes,’ ‘cut [her] throat,’ ‘stomp’ her,” the statement added. “He further warned that she ‘better move’ because he and his ‘boys in the area’ had a ‘contract’ on her life.”

And though authorities got in touch with Gaherty in October 2022 and warned him to “disengage”, he still went ahead and sent more violent threats a few weeks later. 

“In November 2022, Gaherty left Waters two additional voicemails, informing Waters that she ‘done [expletive] up’ by reporting his threats to law enforcement, and stated, ‘This ain’t no threat. It’s a …promise,’” the statement said.

“He also threatened to meet Waters ‘on the street’ and ‘get in [her] face,’ and again told her that he and his ‘crowd’ had a contract to ‘take [her]… out.’ Finally, he warned, ‘You better watch your back.’” 

Gaherty’s lawyer, Joseph Vinas, told NBC News that the convicted man was “very apologetic for what occurred.” Vinas also said that it is his “sincerest belief that, but for the mental health condition he currently suffers as a result of being a victim of violent crime himself, this never would have occurred.”

Waters was present in court during Gaherty’s sentencing on Monday. Vinas said his client sent Waters “a heartfelt plea for her forgiveness and apologized to her and all those who were affected by his comments.”

“Threats to harm or kill elected officials are anathema to our nation’s values and must not – and will not – be tolerated,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in the statement to announce Gaherty’s conviction.

“My office and the entire Department of Justice will continue to combat threats against public officials and other attempts to chill democracy.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 19, 2024

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